Freedom Memoirs – Day 125

Today is June 5, World Environment Day. The Myanmar resistance movement introduces a new campaign called “The Revolution Forest” to both call for attention to safeguarding the environment and to commemorate the fallen heroes of Spring Revolution in Myanmar. As of yesterday (June 4), local monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) records that 845 people have been killed in the military’s brutality. Last night, a queer member was killed in Kyaukpadaung town, Mandalay region when he was out two minutes past eight in the evening. He was shot in the stomach, and his body was cremated this morning.

This morning, a 20-year-old young woman was shot dead when the military came with a shooting spree to the Bantbwe village of Yinmapin township, Sagaing region. The villagers have not been able to retrieve the body due to the presence of excessive military forces. In Mobye town, a member of the Karenni (Kayah) People Defense Force (KPDF) died during the clashes with the military. Mobye has been fighting with the regime’s forces since late May. The military arrested five civilians yesterday after they raided a church in Mobye. They also looted valuables from the church. One of the five civilians was able to escape from them, and reported that they were all blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their back. Among the abducted includes a minor, a 17-year-old. Their whereabouts is unknown. Mobye People Defense Force also reported the military’s continued tactic targeting the civilians; their artillery shells landed near a monastery where internally displaced people have taken refuge. Civilians’ homes were destroyed in the nearby area.

Many more civilians continue to flee from homes. Tens of thousands of people living in Magway’s Yaw region have been forced to flee their homes over the past week as the military forces increasingly occupy the area. They have taken control of more than a dozen villages since May 31, displacing around 50,000 people. Today in Ayeyarwaddy division, Hlay Swea village of Kyonpyaw township was targeted. With the unverified information given by a military informant, the forces came to the village around 3am this morning searching for hidden weapons and attacking the civilians. Netizens reported that more than 17 civilians were shot dead today including a four-years-old child, and two women. The residents there took up slingshots and homemade gas-guns for defense, and residents have fled from homes. One person from the motorcycle was also shot dead this morning in Kyonpyaw.

With many fronts in the country fighting against the military, the regime’s forces turn to their dirty trick of using civilians as human shields to avoid being attacked by the people’s forces. In Kachin State, Putao township, it is reported that the military called 17 administrators, heads of ten households and civilians from Sumpian village for a meeting, and they have all been abducted. The military used this trick to avoid being attacked by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) today for their 48-mile-journey between Sumpian village and Putao township. They were also using a civilian’s truck together with 17 civilians as human shields. On the other hand, in KNU/KNLA Brigade 5, Mutraw district, Hpapun town of Kayin State, Karen National Union reported that several military forces have been killed in clashes with them. 

In many towns, soldiers have been stationed increasingly inside schools to “provide security” to students and teachers who are attending schools. Images on social media anger citizens today after they saw soldiers letting the students use their rifles, and a soldier taking a photo together with a young girl with a caption with sexual harassment intent. People want the soldiers out of the schools as they are afraid that these soldiers will use young students as human shields to protect themselves, and that the soldiers and schools just don’t belong.

As usual, protests have not died out as many townships and regions have taken onto the streets from Kachin’s Hpakant to Kanpauk village of Dawei, Tanintharyi region. In some areas such as Sagaing, thousands of villagers have taken onto the streets. In a COVID-19 related news, seven people have died in Tonzang and Kyikhar towns of northern Chin State within a week. Stay-at-home order has been imposed in more than half of Chin State by June 4.

On the latest update on international front, around 40 French parliamentarians have urged the French government to recognize the National Unity Government (NUG), elected by Myanmar people. They also called for French oil giant TOTAL to suspend all their share payments to the generals. Despite international sanctions during the military rule in the past decades, TOTAL is notorious for profiting the brutal regime. French Le Monde asks TOTAL and French government not to repeat the same mistake it made some 30 years ago (1990). The visit of the delegation of the regional bloc, ASEAN, was shunned by the NUG, and the people elected government NUG says that it has no faith in ASEAN. 

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